2nd

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Germany eyes antigen tests to keep elderly safe in 2nd wave

BERLIN (AP) — As Europe tries to break the surging second wave of coronavirus infections, Germany is counting on a new type of test to avoid closing nursing homes to visitors, a move that caused considerable anguish among residents and relatives in the spring.

So-called antigen tests, which look for a specific protein on the virus, were first launched months ago. They are cheap and fast, but experts said at the time they are also less accurate than the standard PCR test, which detects even the tiniest genetic trace of the virus.

Still, Germany — which has managed to contain the spread of the outbreak better than many of its neighbors — announced recently that it is bulk-buying millions of antigen tests each month.


“We have a new strategy,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Monday. “We can now basically perform rapid tests on visitors to nursing and care homes.”

Nursing homes will receive up to 20 free monthly tests per resident. These can be used to test patients, staff and — crucially — visiting relatives, who might be unwitting carriers of COVID-19, posing a potentially devastating threat.

“Health insurers will cover the costs for a certain number of visitors each month,” Merkel said. “That’s huge progress in terms of protection.”

Germany has one of the world’s oldest populations. More than 24 million people are 60 or older and about 900,000 people live in nursing homes. A further 2.5 million younger people have serious disabilities.

That means almost 30% of Germany’s population of 83 million are particularly vulnerable to the virus, Merkel said.

“Almost everyone knows somebody they don’t want to infect,” she said.

Germany has reported about 550,000 coronavirus cases — less than half the number recorded in Britain, Spain and France. Germany’s confirmed virus death toll of 10,669 is also one-fourth of Britain’s.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman told The Associated Press that manufacturers have agreed to supply Germany with 9 million such tests in November and 11.5 million tests in December.

Experts caution that while antigen tests have become more accurate, they should not be seen as a replacement for the standard PCR method.

Scientists in Switzerland recently scrutinized two widely available antigen tests, sold by Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories and Swiss pharma giant Roche. The researchers concluded that out of 100 people infected with the virus, only between 85 and 89 tested positive using the antigen method.

“It does fulfill the criteria that are published by the (World Health Organization), which should be more than 80% sensitivity,” said Isabella Eckerle, who heads the Center for Emerging Viral Diseases at the University of Geneva, where the tests were validated.

While the tests are less accurate, they provide quick results, she noted.

“One big advantage of these tests would be that you, for example, can build up a decentralized testing center,” Eckerle told The AP. “So you build up a tent, let’s say, in front of a school or in a park, and then people can come. And then after 15

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PM Pediatrics Opens 2nd Connecticut Location In Manchester

MANCHESTER, CT — PM Pediatrics, the nation’s largest provider of pediatric urgent care, has opened its newest location at 1500C Pleasant Valley Rd in Manchester.

That’s the Plaza at Buckland Hills shopping center.

The Manchester location is the second location in Connecticut and the 61st nationwide. Dr. James Parker will serve as medical director for the Manchester office.

PM Pediatrics has its corporate headquarters in New Hyde Park, NY.

The Manchester location will be open seven days a week from Noon until 10 p.m. daily. In addition to serving various acute care needs for newborns to age 26, the office will also offer coronavirus testing after an assessment for both children and adults.

The office will also continue to offer virtual visits via the PM Pediatrics Anywhere app. More information on virtual visits with PM Pediatrics Anywhere can be found at pmpediatricsanywhere.com.

“We are thrilled to expand our unique formula of specialized urgent care for children and young adults into more communities in Connecticut,” said Steven Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of PM Pediatrics. “Our Manchester office will provide child-friendly care that focuses on the safety and well-being of everyone in the office, especially in times of COVID-19.”

The Manchester, CT office occupies approximately 3,900 square feet and is decorated in a jungle theme with an “immersive child-friendly design” as well as televisions with children’s programming in each room.

“Every one of our offices is focused on the pediatric patient experience– from the murals on the walls depicting playful themes to the exam rooms outfitted with familiar kids’ characters,” said Dr. Jeffrey Schor, co-founder and co-CEO of PM Pediatrics. “Our healthcare team provides top-quality care and ensures the comfort of every patient we see.”

Officials said the state-of-the-art Manchester, CT practice is staffed by a healthcare team with experience in Pediatric Emergency and urgent care medicine, including board-certified pediatric emergency physicians and pediatricians, and features onsite digital x-ray and lab.

PM Pediatrics claims more than 3 million visits.

For more information about PM Pediatrics and a list of locations, visit pmpediatrics.com, Facebook @PMPediatrics, Twitter @pmpeds and Instagram @pmpediatrics.

This article originally appeared on the Manchester Patch

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On the front lines of Europe’s surging 2nd COVID crisis: Reporter’s Notebook

I’ve just left the intensive care unit of a hospital in Liege, Belgium. It’s impossible to know of course, but this is quite possibly the epicenter of Europe’s new coronavirus crisis.



a person standing in front of a refrigerator: A health worker standing in an intensive care unit treats a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.


© Yves Herman/Reuters
A health worker standing in an intensive care unit treats a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.

The city of about 200,000 residents nestled in eastern Belgium is at around a 41% infection rate, and the hospital is at full capacity. Intensive care unit numbers have tripled in three weeks. Belgium, which had 100 to 200 cases per day throughout June and early July, is now marking north of 10,000. On Oct. 25, it set a daily record with 17,709.

We stood outside one room — which patients are now forced to share due to overcrowding — to hear the groans of an elderly man who was just admitted. As doctors and nurses attended to him another ambulance swept up outside the window with another case.

MORE: Europe struggling with 2nd surge of COVID-19 case, and it may be worse than the 1st

The doctor guiding us on a tour admitted a chilling fact: health workers here (including himself) are now treating patients knowing they themselves have COVID-19.



a group of people standing in a room: Health workers take care of patients suffering from the coronavirus disease in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for COVID-19 patients, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.


© Yves Herman/Reuters
Health workers take care of patients suffering from the coronavirus disease in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for COVID-19 patients, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.



a person taking a selfie in a room: A health worker looks on in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for patients suffering the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.


© Yves Herman/Reuters
A health worker looks on in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for patients suffering the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.

It’s an ethical dilemma, but not a choice this doctor could make. He now tests negative, but he said if he and others like him do not continue working, the health system here would go under. The toll on health workers, already exhausted from the first wave, about to be exacerbated by the second.

Why is it so bad? COVID fatigue, he says. Belgium relaxed the measures that had kept the country safe and now are going to pay a price. Lots of testing, yes. But not so much tracing.

MORE: Further restrictions, curfews imposed in Europe as continent fights ‘second wave’ of coronavirus cases

But they have learned some important lessons from the first wave.



A health worker picks up utensils in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for patients suffering the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.


© Yves Herman/Reuters
A health worker picks up utensils in a recovery room of an operating theatre transformed for patients suffering the coronavirus disease, at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, Oct. 29, 2020.



a close up of a woman: A woman takes part in a demonstration at the hospital MontLegia, in Liege, gathering employees, and called by the Belgian trade union National Center of Employees, on Oct. 29, 2020 as the country faces a second wave of infections from COVID-19.


© John Thys/AFP via Getty Images
A woman takes part in a demonstration at the hospital MontLegia, in Liege, gathering employees, and called by the Belgian trade union National Center of Employees, on Oct. 29, 2020 as the country faces a second wave of infections from COVID-19.

We came across Florent, a 75-year-old man in the ICU who said he wanted to speak to us. Back in March, he

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Britain’s Health Workers Face 2nd Virus Wave, but This Time With Less Support

People have also begun complaining about long wait times.

“There is some disbelief that you’ve had six months to prepare for this and why haven’t you been training more nurses,” said Dr. Tamás Szakmany, an intensive care doctor in Newport, Wales. But, he said, “it’s not just like you’ve got a car factory and you suddenly need more transmissions, so you train the factory workers to build more transmissions. It’s just not that simple.”

Among doctors and nurses, a sense of battle fatigue has set in. Extra weekend shifts that were intended to be temporary have lasted through the summer, especially in northern cities where coronavirus wards remained busy even as a national lockdown was lifted in the summer. Health workers are calling in sick, many of them with anxiety and depression.

Rapid testing remains scarce for doctors and nurses. And health workers on coronavirus wards are supplied only with basic surgical masks, not the heavier-duty N-95 masks reserved for intensive care units.

“The first time around, it’s almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of medical challenge,” said Paul Whitaker, a respiratory doctor in Bradford, in northern England, where the number of coronavirus patients has returned to its early May peak.

“The hospital provided packed lunches for us all,” Dr. Whitaker added. “People were sending good luck messages. But the prospect of going into another six months, which is almost certainly what it’s going to be, is relatively frightening. How are you going to maintain the morale, the focus and the energy of all these people?”

In the ex-mining and manufacturing towns in England’s north that have been hit hardest by the latest surge of infections, doctors are especially harried. Nearly 40 percent of critically ill patients are now classified as the country’s most deprived, compared to a quarter of such patients in the spring and early summer.

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Ultimate Medical Academy Gathers Nation’s Largest Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Team for 2nd Straight Year

A record-breaking 2633 people walked as part of Team UMA in the event to support and raise funds to further cancer research

More than 2,600 employees, students, alumni and partners from across the country joined Team UMA to create the largest Making Strides team of any organization nationwide.
More than 2,600 employees, students, alumni and partners from across the country joined Team UMA to create the largest Making Strides team of any organization nationwide.
More than 2,600 employees, students, alumni and partners from across the country joined Team UMA to create the largest Making Strides team of any organization nationwide.

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 26, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) continued its record-breaking team numbers as they virtually gathered for the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 2020 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. More than 2,600 employees, students, alumni and partners from across the country joined Team UMA to create the largest Making Strides team of any organization nationwide, all walking in their respective places on October 17, 2020, to help raise awareness and financial support for the healthcare cause.

Last year, with 1,154 walkers, UMA had the largest Making Strides team from a single organization in the nation. Rather than feeling limited by 2020’s unique circumstances that required the event to be virtual, UMA team members embraced their ability to engage the institution’s nationwide community and make an even bigger impact for this important cause. In fact, UMA shattered their 2020 goal to double last year’s impact and built a record-breaking team of 2,633 walkers, again earning the honor of largest team in the nation. Through these efforts, UMA helped to raise more than $50,000 for ACS and Making Strides.

In addition to this year’s team effort, UMA President Thomas Rametta also participated in the Real Men Wear Pink (RMWP) Campaign. Typically, RMWP participants are charged with raising at least $2,500, but Rametta committed to $25,000 and has so far raised more than $33,000 for the cause, making him the fifth-ranked RMWP candidate in the country.

“Within our UMA community alone, so many people have faced a cancer diagnosis themselves or had a loved one impacted by cancer, and we know that’s the case for so many others too,” said Beth Garland, UMA’s senior vice president of human resources and the chair of this year’s Making Strides event in Tampa. “At UMA, we participate in Making Strides to show our support for those team members and to, hopefully, inspire other organizations and individuals to use their collective strength for the good of this cause as well. The fight against cancer is not an easy one, but by coming together as an organization and a community, we can make a difference.”

In addition to funding cancer research, ACS helps patients and their families in tangible ways such as transporting patients to treatments and surgeries, helping patients and survivors with self-care as they endure the effects of treatment, and coming to a caregiver’s or patient’s aid when they have questions or concerns at any hour. These services have become even more important as healthcare resources and staff have felt additional burdens during the COVID-19

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New US virus cases top 83,700 for 2nd day in row

BALTIMORE — A day after the U.S. set a daily record for new confirmed coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again.

Data published by Johns Hopkins University shows that 83,718 new cases in the U.S. were reported Saturday, nearly matching the 83,757 infections reported Friday. Before that, the most cases reported in the United States on a single day had been 77,362 on July 16.

Close to 8.6 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and about 225,000 have died. Both statistics are the world’s highest. India has more than 7.8 million infections but in recent weeks its daily number have been declining.


U.S. health officials have feared the surge of infections to come with colder weather and people spending more time indoors, especially as many flout guidelines to protect themselves and others such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington currently forecasts that the country’s COVID-19 death toll could exceed 318,000 by Jan. 1.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Europe’s restaurants and bars are being walloped by new virus curfews and restrictions

— Spain gets ready to impose a new state of emergency to tamp down surging virus infections

— Surging coronavirus colors White House race in closing days

— Europe, US watch case totals grow, debate new restrictions

— Colombia reaches 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases

— Police in England will try to stop people from leaving Wales, which has started a 17-day lockdown to slow a surging rate of coronavirus infections.

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Follow all of AP’s coronavirus pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

ROME — For at least the next month, most people outdoors in Italy now must wear masks, the country’s gyms, cinemas and movie theaters will be closed, ski slopes are off-limits to all but competitive skiers and cafes and restaurants must shut down in the early evenings.

The latest restrictions came via a decree signed Sunday by Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, who ruled against another severe lockdown despite Italy’s current surge in COVID-19 infections. In several regions of the country, mask-wearing outdoors was already mandatory.

A day earlier, Italy surpassed the half-million mark in the number of confirmed coronavirus infections since its outbreak began in February, the first country to be stricken in Europe. The last two days have seen daily new caseloads creep close to 20,000.

Italy has the second-most confirmed virus deaths in Europe after Britain, with 37,210 dead.

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BERLIN — Several people attacked Germany’s national disease control center with incendiary devices early Sunday, Berlin police reported.

A security guard noticed the attack on the Robert Koch Institute in the German capital and was able to quickly extinguished the flames. Nobody was injured, but one window was destroyed. Criminal police has taken over the investigation on suspicion that the attack may have been politically motivated.

Among other things, the institute keeps track

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‘Still in disbelief!’ Couple welcomes their 2nd set of identical twins

Erin Credo is rarely speechless. But the 33-year-old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had no words on March 24. That’s the day she learned she was expecting her second set of identical twins.

“I took a picture of the ultrasound and sent it to my husband,” Erin told TODAY Parents.

Jake Credo was home with their 6-year-old sons, Cooper and Grant.

“He was confused. He wrote back, ‘Is that the boys?’” Erin recalled. “And I was like, ‘Oh no. That is not our boys. That is this pregnancy.”

Erin and Jake Credo cuddled up with their identical twin daughters, Lola and Allie. (Erin Credo)
Erin and Jake Credo cuddled up with their identical twin daughters, Lola and Allie. (Erin Credo)

Dr. Cliff Moore, the maternal fetal medicine physician who oversaw Erin’s pregnancy, was just as shocked.

“Only about 1 in 111,111 pregnancies results in a second set of identical twins,” Moore told TODAY Parents. “To put that in perspective, we deliver approximately 8,000 babies at Woman’s Hospital each year, so we’d only see that about once every 15 years.”

Identical twin brothers Grant and Cooper Credo welcomed identical twin sisters in September 2020. (Erin Credo)
Identical twin brothers Grant and Cooper Credo welcomed identical twin sisters in September 2020. (Erin Credo)

The pregnancy itself came as a big surprise. Erin and Jake struggled for more more than two years to conceive Cooper and Grant.

“We were kind of on the fence about having more because I didn’t want to go through that again,” Erin revealed. “I never in my life thought I’d have four kids. I’m still in disbelief.”

Identical twins, also known as monozygotic twins, account for .4% of all pregnancies, according to Dr. Dave Colombo, division chief of maternal fetal medicine at Spectrum Health in Michigan.

“The chance of having identical twins is pretty consistent across the world. The only thing that seems to increase the risk of having identical twins is using assisted reproductive technologies,” Colombo told TODAY Parents. “The rate of non-identical twins is affected by a mother’s age, race, family and how recently she used birth control.”

Erin’s pregnancy wasn’t without complications — the family contacted COVID-19 in August — but on Sept. 22, the Credos welcomed their second set of identical twins: Lola and Allie.

The girls, who were born at 32 weeks and 3 days gestation, stayed in the hospital for four weeks to gain weight, and came home on Tuesday morning. Each wears a different color nail polish so that Erin and Jake can tell them apart.

Grant and Cooper snuggled up with their sisters. (Tate Tullier Photography)
Grant and Cooper snuggled up with their sisters. (Tate Tullier Photography)

Erin can’t wait to watch the bond develop between Lola and Allie.

“Cooper and Grant are always snuggling. The other day Grant fell asleep in our bed and Cooper gave him a kiss on the forehead,” Erin gushed. “The bond between identical twins is unlike any other connection.”

The Credo family. (Tate Tullier Photography)
The Credo family. (Tate Tullier Photography)

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